The French Franc, 1914-1928: The Facts and Their Interpretation

The French Franc, 1914-1928: The Facts and Their Interpretation

The French Franc, 1914-1928: The Facts and Their Interpretation

The French Franc, 1914-1928: The Facts and Their Interpretation

Excerpt

Miss Dulles's book has a twofold significance. In the first place it is a history. It gives an account of an important episode -- or series of episodes -- in the recent history of France. In the second place, it is an essay in monetary theory. It presents the results of an inquiry into the behavior of prices, exchanges, production, and trade under a régime of inconvertible paper money. But the reader will find that Miss Dulles draws no sharp line between her account of the various specific factors which shaped the fortunes of the franc and her analysis of the quantitative relations between the variations of the currency and the fluctuations of other economic phenomena. This, I think, is one of the principal merits of her book.

It is no longer profitable to inquire into the working of a depreciated currency with no other end in view than that of finding a fresh confirmation of established monetary principles. No intelligent person who has given any attention to the matter any longer doubts that there is a fairly dependable relation between the amount of a country's currency and the purchasing power of a currency unit. An inquirer's time and energy can be given more profitably to problems which as yet have not been so fully disposed of. Among these problems are such matters as the degree of rigidity or elasticity which may appear under particular conditions in the relation between the quantity of money and prices, the nature of the mechanism by means of which -- again under particular conditions -- that relationship is maintained or changed, the direction in which the controlling forces run and the way in which they get their initial . . .

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